Time flies, books endure. 📚💡Photo of Kepler’s Books as it appeared in 1968. Kepler’s has been a beloved local mainstay since 1955. Its historic roots took hold during the counterculture revolution of the 1950’s and 1960’s, when Roy Kepler founded the shop to encourage social activism and democratize reading. In its heyday, Kepler’s was a cultural epicenter with a loyal following among Beat intellectuals, pacifists, Stanford students and faculty, and book lovers of all stripes for its commitment to fostering the exchange of “serious books and ideas.” Among many notable visitors over the years, the Grateful Dead and folk singer Joan Baez often appeared at Kepler’s holding impromptu salons to discuss ideas, political action, and music.
The local newspaper reporter called me up earlier this week, wanting to do a story on our seed lending library. Already, I’m thrilled. So we talk for a while about the project, about libraries, about card catalogs and antique dealers, and in particular about the enduring power of books. All in all, a very nice conversation with a very kind, very generous journalist.
Then the story comes out in this morning’s paper. I’m excited to see it there on the front of the local section, but apprehensive because you never know what angle a newspaper will take with a story until you read it. So I read it. And I’m even more thrilled. It goes something like this: Libraries are checking out more books — real, printed books — than ever before. Even in today’s world of computers everywhere, people have a seemingly unquenchable desire for real, physical books and libraries. Plus, libraries are adding new services that people want and need, like after school homework tutoring centers and seed lending libraries. They’re even bringing back the card catalog, which they have kept in storage all these years, just waiting for the right time to bring it back into the sunlight again. Old is new again, and it’s a good thing.
It warms my heart. Given the theme of the article, it seemed only appropriate to share it in true “vintage” printed newspaper format and layout. The web version doesn’t really do it justice.